Kenya Launches Male Circumcision Program
November 25, 2008
The Kenyan Ministry of Health on Monday launched a voluntary male circumcision program as part of the country's national HIV prevention strategy, the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation reports.
The program will be launched in six districts in Kenya's Nyanza province before being expanded to the rest of the country (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, 11/24). The initiative aims to reduce HIV prevalence in Kenya by 60%, Public Health and Sanitation Minister James Gesami said Monday at the program launch. Gesami also emphasized the importance of ensuring that all circumcisions are performed in sanitary conditions. "Traditional circumcisers should use septic techniques by not using one knife on several individuals," he said.
WHO Country Representative David Okello said that circumcision should not be seen as an excuse to practice risky behaviors. "Circumcision should be promoted along with other HIV prevention strategies including safer sex, reduction in the number of sexual partners, plus the correct and consistent use of condoms," Okello said (Ndong'a, Capital News, 11/24).
Gesami added that the health ministry will provide no-cost counseling to couples on the benefits of male circumcision to prevent HIV transmission as part of the program. According to the Daily Nation, two-thirds of HIV-positive adults in Kenya are married or in a relationship, and one spouse is HIV-positive in 10% of marriages. Peter Cherutich, head of the national task force on circumcision, said that counseling is critical for couples and that women "have to be involved for the full benefits [of the procedure] to be felt" (Ngirachup, Daily Nation, 11/24).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.